Is Mother Teresa Worthy of Canonization?
I’m fully prepared for the onslaught of comments that I am going to receive for this post. “Oh, wow! You don’t think Mother Teresa is a Saint! Well why don’t you help the poor like she did for your entire life and then you can talk!” or “But she did so much good! Are you better than Mother Teresa” or even “Wow look at the Pharisee!” comments. The fun thing is I won’t approve anybody who leaves a comment like that because I’ve heard it all already. As it is my blog, I am free to talk about things that I want to discuss.
Here’s where my line of thinking is when it comes to Mother Teresa.
Is she in Heaven? Yes. She received last rites before she died and the Church has made the pronouncement that she is a Saint, so yes, she is obviously in Heaven.
Is she worthy of veneration as a saint? I don’t think so and here’s why.
Her corporal works of mercy in helping the poor is to be lauded as an exemplary example of how all Catholics should strive in their love for neighbor and in assisting them when they are at their lowest. What is lacking from what I have gathered is her apparent disregard for the spiritual works of mercy, that is admonishing the sinner and preaching the Gospel, that Jesus Christ died for our sins and that we must accept Him if we are to have eternal life.
There are many quotes attributed to Mother Teresa in which she says:
I’ve always said that we should help a Hindu become a better Hindu, a Muslime become a better Muslim, a Catholic become a better Catholic.
While this statement may appear to be in line with modern Catholic thought thanks to the Second Vatican Council, it is condemned by the Church as given by Pope Pius IX:
15. Every man is free to embrace and profess that religion which, guided by the light of reason, he shall consider true. — Allocution “Maxima quidem,” June 9, 1862; Damnatio “Multiplices inter,” June 10, 1851.
16. Man may, in the observance of any religion whatever, find the way of eternal salvation, and arrive at eternal salvation. — Encyclical “Qui pluribus,” Nov. 9, 1846.
17. Good hope at least is to be entertained of the eternal salvation of all those who are not at all in the true Church of Christ. — Encyclical “Quanto conficiamur,” Aug. 10, 1863, etc.
The only way we as Catholics can help a Hindu become a better Hindu is by having him renounce his faith and become Catholic, as Jesus said in John 14:6 “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father, but through me.”
This quote isn’t the only disturbing statement from Mother Teresa. Other quotes that raise concern:
Some call Him Ishwar, some call Him Allah, some simply God, but we have to acknowledge that it is He who made us for greater things: to love and be loved. What matters is that we love. We cannot love without prayer, and so whatever religion we are, we must pray together.
Of course I convert. I convert you to be a better Hindu or a better Muslim or a better Protestant. Once you’ve found God, it’s up to you to decide how to worship him.
You could replace Jesus by God if you are not a Christian.
These are, but a handful of quotes and Marian Horvat has two great articles here and here which go into more depth.
One thing that surprises me during this entire discussion on Mother Teresa is how quickly many are willing to ignore these theological errors because they like her. To me, it’s dishonest to be upset with the many heretics who are currently derailing the Church with their false beliefs when Mother Teresa subscribed to many of these beliefs. You can’t be upset with Pope Francis for his religious indifference but be completely fine with Mother Teresa’s.
I have also heard that she baptized 20,000 people in one of her houses, but from details I have heard, she or one of the other sisters in the house would put a wet cloth on the forehead of the person and silently say the words of baptism. It is debatable if this counts as a valid baptism as 1. the individual must have full consent and give his verbal approval, 2. the baptism must be done via pouring of water over the head or submersion, and 3. the words of baptism must be audible.
At the end of the day, Mother Teresa is in Heaven, thanks to the sacraments, her faith, Our Lord’s mercy, and her willingness to repent of all of her sins on her death bed. A well provided for death is something to be truly happy about. But we should look for Saints who model the virtues throughout their entire life, or at least amended their ways as they progressed through it. Many saints did not live holy lives in their younger days, but repented of their evil ways and taught others the Truth.
If you like St. Mother Teresa, that’s fine and dandy and ask for her intercession if you so choose, but realize that there are a lot of sketchy things she said and did that are not in line with authentic Catholic thought. And now that she’s been declared a saint, these erroneous quotes will be immortalized as being “saintly” when they are just flat out wrong.
It is true that Mother Teresa did much good in easing the physical sufferings of poor humanity, and I recall one instance where she admonished then President Clinton about the inherent evil of abortion and challenged him to right this wrong. The poverty, to use her word, is that she will never be remembered for chastising the powerful to do what is morally right (even if it was just one time), but rather in her work to give relief to those suffering physical distress — those who in and of themselves were far better in that they lived the sufferings of Christ. Thanks for the perspective.
Many years ago, when I was giving class at a Dutch high school, I explained to eager youngsters the sense of sainthood. Since my class was a mixed lot of Christian, Hindu and Muslim students – I being a devout Roman Catholic – I presented to them the figure of Mahatma Gandhi, a person who “in theory” could have aspired to sainthood, if he had been a Catholic. That explanation was satisfactory to my class, so I left it at that point. They knew now what a saint was – an example to humanity.
Reading your excellent article, with which I wholly agree, my mind went back to the Gandhi example of those days. Truly, I now realize, if Mother Theresa has been canonized, then what about Gandhi? Both persons did and said basically the same, the only difference being that Theresa was Catholic, while Gandhi was a devout Hindu.
Should Mother Theresa’s canonization be a signal that in the not-so-distant future, persons like Gandhi might also be bestowed an honorary sainthood for their accomplishments for Humanity As A Whole? If so, then it is the line of expectation that it will happen. With this disastrous pontificate now sowing its humanistic seeds, being Catholic – and here it comes – will be of no more value than professing your faith in Allah, Krishna, Obatala or any other great spirit that happens to be worshipped in some corner of the earth.
Mother Theresa of Calcutta will then have become the first “saint” of the World Religion now under construction.
Very well stated. Thank you for your clear thoughts on what is likely to be in store for us as our Church is being brought to its knees in our woefully pagan world. Would that the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart happen soon!
As a confessional, conservative Lutheran, it is not often that I find myself saying “Amen” to Catholic writings to the extent I have in this article. I appreciate the acknowledgement of the importance of the Gospel: That Jesus died for our sins. I also appreciate the acknowledgment of the truth that Jesus is the “the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father, but through me.” True love by the Christian for the non-Christian compels them to point to Jesus as the only way and His shed Blood and broken Body given for them as the only hope and promise of eternal salvation. True love in the Christian does not point one to become more steeped in a false religion which worships a false God. There is salvation only in the name of Jesus. While I in NO WAY wish to mitigate the important disagreements that Lutherans and Roman Catholics have in doctrine(and I get the idea you would feel the same way), I do appreciate your unwillingness to cave in to the modernistic syncretistic spirit of the age and your confession that there is a such thing as Christian Truth that stands firm despite the vain and ever changing whims of sinful man.